FRIDAY MARCH 1st: Opening Night & Keynote Speaker ALICE KESSLER-HARRIS

Friday March 1, 2013

4:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Registration in Heimbold Lobby — Pick up your conference materials and mingle with other passionate women’s historians!

6:00 p.m. HEIMBOLD AUDITORIUM: THE MAIN EVENT!

Welcome Address: Rona Holub, Director, Women’s History Graduate Program, Sarah Lawrence College

Keynote Address: Alice Kessler-Harris, R. Gordon Hoxie Professor of American History, Columbia University

Alice Kessler-Harris, distinguished professor of history and keynote speaker at the conference's opening event on Friday March 1st at 6 PM.

Alice Kessler-Harris, distinguished professor of history and keynote speaker at the conference’s opening event on Friday March 1st at 6 PM.

Alice Kessler-Harris earned her PhD from Rutgers in 1968. She is the author of numerous women’s labor histories including Out to Work: A History of Wage-Earning Women in the United States (1982) and Women Have Always Worked: A Historical Overview (1981). She is a pioneer in her field and a beloved professor; she currently teaches at Columbia University and is the R. Gordon Hoxie professor of American History there. She has recently published a book called A Difficult Woman: The Challenging Life and Times of Lillian Hellman. We are so privileged and honored to host her at our Women’s History conference in honor of Amy Swerdlow and Gerda Lerner, two close colleagues and friends of Dr. Kessler-Harris’. 

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8:00 p.m.

Reception: Slonim Living Room

We look forward to seeing you there for this inspiring opening program!

PREVIEW: 15th Annual Women’s History Month Conference in Honor of Amy Swerdlow

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“Mr. President, How Long Must Women Wait For Liberty?” — Photo Courtesy of the Library of Congress’ Women’s History Month archives. http://www.womenshistorymonth.gov

Hello women’s history enthusiasts and loyal readers!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year– namely, WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH! To kick off the month of March, Sarah Lawrence College’s Women’s History graduate program hosts an annual conference, centered around a theme in women’s history and activism. This year, our conference honors the late Amy Swerdlow, historian, activist, member of Women Strike for Peace, and former director of the WH program at SLC. Swerdlow expertly combined scholarship and activism in her own amazing life, and we draw on her example as inspiration for the work and message of this year’s celebration.

womenstrikeforpeace

As a member of the conference’s committee, I was privileged to read and select from the brilliant submissions to our conference this year. In the next day or two, the Re/visionist team will be posting excerpts from the papers that will be featured at the conference on March 1st and 2nd, 2013.

In the mean time, mark your calendars and don’t forget to REGISTER HERE so that when you arrive at Heimbold Auditorium on March 1st and/or 2nd, there will be a lovely folder with your name on it!

I can’t wait to see you all there for a day and a half of illuminating and diverse presentations on the intersection of feminisms, activisms, and scholarship in the study of women’s history.

Cheers!

Emma

Black Women Defining Themselves in the Music Industry

by Monica Stancu

Editor’s Note: In light of this year’s Women’s History Conference, “Breaking Boundaries,” we are happy to present this previously unpublished work from last year’s conference.

In Check It While I Wreck It, Gwendolyn D. Pough, a Women’s Studies scholar, argues that many scholars have ignored the achievements of black female rappers and limited themselves to criticizing the sexist portrayal of black women in hip hop culture. The author claims that although hip hop is indeed dominated by men, black female singers use this type of music to disrupt dominant masculine discourses.

At the Women’s History Conference hosted by Sarah Lawrence College (Bronxville, New York) on March 5-6 2010, scholars explored the ways black women expressed politics through music. The theme of the conference, “The Message is in the Music: Hip Hop Feminism, Riot Grrrl, Latina Music and More,” reflected Pough’s belief in the potential social and political influence of hip hop. The presenters argued that although hip hop can be problematic at times, female artists are not just marginalized or victimized by it: they use hip hop to offer counter narratives.

The scholars present at the panel “Love, Sex and Magic: Hip Hop Feminism as a Tool for the Creative Renegotiation of Black Female Desire” on March 6, argued that hip hop is not unique in its use of sexist representations of women and its commodification of black women’s bodies. The exploitation of these bodies for the privileged is one of many shameful relics of slavery, when they were used as cheap labor and objects for sexual relief. Continue reading

Breaking Boundaries & A Night of Spoken Word

This weekend the Sarah Lawrence community will be celebrating Women’s History Month with our 13th Annual Women’s History Month Conference, Breaking Boundaries: Body Politics & the Dynamics of Difference.  Friday, the conference opens with a plenary featuring Marilyn Wann (author of Fat! So?) then a Night of Spoken Word featuring Maria James-Thiaw and Lara Frater, plus other artists: Ms. MaDonna Awotwi a.k.a. Sankofa the Poet, Jennifer Bartlett, Andrea Baker, Sheila Black, Shaashawn Dial, & David Wolach.

flier by Kate Wadkins | illustration by Cristy Road

A full conference schedule can be found here.

– Kate Wadkins

BREAKING BOUNDARIES conference schedule announced

BREAKING BOUNDARIES: Body Politics & the Dynamics of Difference
A Conference at Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, New York (15 minutes north of Manhattan)

Friday – Saturday March 4 – 5, 2011
Free and Open to the Public
Keynote Speaker: Marilyn Wann Fat Activist and Author of Fat!So?

When it comes to “the body,” the definition of normal is fluid and changes across cultures and time. In each context, there are those who have been exploited and oppressed because they do not fit prevailing notions of beauty.

What are the dominant narratives and perceptions about beauty and bodies? How do these perceptions affect public policy around issues of health, civil rights, education, and accessibility? How do those whose bodies do not fit into the “proper” cultural norms challenge attitudes, laws, and perceptions? How have they negotiated for and found power in unwelcoming environments, both now and in the past? How do the categories of race, class, gender, sexuality, age, and disability complicate prevailing ideas about embodiment? Are there and have there been communities and cultures that have welcomed those whose bodies are currently perceived as deviant in dominant popular discourse? And what is the relationship between promoting and continuing the dominant discourse and capitalist consumer culture? This conference will explore the body politics around those with “deviant” bodies.

Preliminary Schedule
(subject to change)
Unless otherwise noted, all events take place in the Monika A. and Charles A. Heimbold, Jr. Visual Arts Center. Continue reading

Queering Categories, Bringing Wreck

illustration by Cristy Road

by Kate Wadkins

In sync with Sarah Lawrence’s recent call for papers for 2011’s Women’s History Conference, I am syndicating my review of the plenary panel from this year’s The Message is in the Music: Hip Hop Feminism, Riot Grrrl, Latina Music & More with RE/VISIONIST (it is also currently published in this year’s Women’s History newsletter). Specifically Ngo and Nguyen’s papers, in the context of the Conference at large, really inspired me to pursue my thesis work on masculinities in punk rock. Watching other scholars dare to take on pop culture subjects like music gave me hope and certainty that cultural production is worthy of an historical treatment.

This article is also timely as it preempts the publication of International Girl Gang Underground, a compilation zine about the way riot grrrl has influenced punk feminist cultural production over the past twenty years. Nguyen’s early iteration of her paper, “Aesthetics, Access, Intimacy” or “Race, Riot Grrrl, Bad Feelings” will be included in the zine, nestled in among scene reports and personal stories from all over the world.

“I quit punk like 8 times,” Mimi Nguyen confessed to a full auditorium at Sarah Lawrence College’s 12th Annual Women’s History Conference: The Message is in the Music: Hip-Hop Feminism, Riot Grrrl, Latina Music & More, recollecting her contentious relationship with punk rock. As the first panel of the morning opened up, the groggy, packed audience, comprised of women of all ages and ilk, quickly awoke to Nguyen’s sharp wit and powerful presence. For the plenary panel, Fiona Ngo and Mimi Nguyen, both assistant professors at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, discussed grassroots punk scenes and their internal racial dynamics. A third panelist, Sarah Lawrence alum Christa D’Angelica, presented on what she termed a “second wave” of riot grrrl that traversed from zine[1] pages to dial-up modems in the late 1990s. Continue reading

Breaking Boundaries: Body Politics & the Dynamics of Difference

CALL FOR PROPOSALS
Breaking Boundaries:
Body Politics and the Dynamics of Difference

a Conference at Sarah Lawrence College
Bronxville, New York
March 4-5, 2011

Keynote Speaker:
Marilyn Wann
Fat Activist and Author, Fat!So?

When it comes to “the body,” the definition of normal is fluid and changes across cultures and time. In each context, there are those who have been exploited and oppressed because they do not fit prevailing notions of beauty. This conference will explore the body politics around those with “deviant” bodies. Continue reading

Hip-Hop is a Discursive Sport

by Lisa Merolle

Two conference-goers chat with Women's History first year, Alexandria Linn. Photo by Nydia Swaby.

Spirits were high at the 12th Annual Sarah Lawrence Women’s History Conference The Message in the Music: Hip-Hop Feminism, Riot Grrrl, Latina Music, and More as attendees piled into the living room at Slonim House for the last session of the day. They were perched at edge of the overcrowded sofa, on windowsills, and stairs for the panel, “Love, Sex and Magic: Hip-Hop Feminism as a Tool for the Creative Renegotiation of Black Female Desire,” presented by four scholars from the University of Alabama. Despite the late hour and the long day the atmosphere hummed with energy from an audience eager to learn. Continue reading

Interview: Daniela Capistrano of POC Zine Project

by Kate Wadkins

Photo courtesy of Bashira Webb.

Say what you will about Twitter, but it brought Daniela Capistrano and I together. Daniela is a powerhouse working with media and culture in New York, while also being an activist, teacher, and the founder of POC Zine Project. As fellow RE/VISIONIST staffer Nydia Swaby and I began coordinating the non-profit tablers for this year’s Sarah Lawrence College Women’s History Conference, “The Message is in the Music,” we fell in love with POC Zine Project’s mission and invited them to join us. Daniela found some time to chat with me online so we could find out more about the project and her own experiences with activism and work.

RE/VISIONIST: Who are you and what do you do?

Daniela Capistrano: I’m Daniela Capistrano and I am a freelance multimedia producer currently gigging at MTV Tr3s as a Senior Producer and at Uncensored Interview as a shooter/producer/editor. I also crew on short films, music videos and other stuff. Continue reading

Music, Feminism & Women’s History Month

It’s clear that at Sarah Lawrence College, Women’s History month was all about the intersections of music and feminism this year. So in honor of the last day of Women’s History month (which also happens to be César Chávez Day and International Transgender Day of Visibility) I want to direct you to a blog I love about the intersections of feminism and music, called Rock and the Single Girl. Continue reading